June 2, 2006 12:07 PM PDT

Office, Vista changed in wake of Adobe threat

Microsoft is making changes to the next versions of both Office and Windows as part of an effort to head off a legal challenge from Adobe Systems.

Microsoft said earlier Friday that it expects an antitrust suit from Adobe after months of negotiations in which the companies failed to reach an accord.

The software maker is unilaterally making changes to both Office 2007 and Windows Vista in an effort to assuage some of Adobe's concerns. More important, the move is an attempt to lower the chances that an injunction could stop Microsoft from shipping those products.

"We don't want anything to stand in the way of customers getting their hands on the product," Microsoft Vice President Chris Capossela told CNET News.com in a telephone interview on Friday. "We certainly are trying to be a good partner here."

Microsoft has already had to delay the release date for Windows Vista several times because of technological hurdles. The current plan is to finish development of Office in October, and Vista by November, in order to have a mainstream launch of the products in January.

related story
Microsoft, Adobe squabble over PDF
Companies brace for European antitrust battle.

The company is making two main changes. With Vista, it plans to give computer makers the option of dropping some support for XPS, Microsoft's fixed-format document type that some have characterized as a PDF-killer. Under the changes, Microsoft will still use XPS under the hood to help the operating system print files. But computer makers won't have to include the software that allows users to view XPS files or to save documents as XPS files.

That said, Microsoft doesn't expect many computer makers will choose that option.

"We think it will be rare, because there is value and customers want it," group program manager Andy Simonds told CNET News.com. History may be on Microsoft's side here. The company was ordered by the European Union to offer a version of Windows without a built-in media player. However, manufacturers have shown little or no interest in selling PCs based on the stripped-down operating system.

On the Office side, Microsoft plans to take out of Office 2007 a feature that allows documents to be saved in either XPS or PDF formats. However, consumers will be able to go to Microsoft's Web site and download a patch that will add those capabilities back in.

If customers do that, it will essentially make Office 2007 work the same way as it has in current test versions, including the Beta 2 release that Microsoft made publicly available last week.

Customers will have to go through extra work, though, as they need to both download code and install it before adding back the options.

"It's clearly not as customer-friendly as we would like it to be," Capossela said. Microsoft announced plans for the PDF-saving option in October.

Got views on Vista?

Even if customers don't download the add-on for Office, those running Vista may still be able to save their documents in the XPS format, provided their computer maker has not stripped out Vista's own XPS abilities. In Vista, the print driver can save all files in the XPS format.

Forrester analyst Kyle McNabb said that Microsoft's move to make PDF saving an add-on to Office 2007 won't be a major blow to the new software. "Having to download it and add it will not kill Office 2007," McNabb said. Consumers "will be disappointed, yes, but it won't prevent Office 2007 from moving forward."

Simonds, whose unit develops XPS, said that customers want the fixed document type and doesn't see the additional hurdles hurting XPS' ability to become a universal file format. "We think that value will sort of transcend any of this," he said.

But it will be an added hurdle, Capossela acknowledged. "Clearly, it introduces a barrier, in that customers have to go through another step to make this capability possible," he said.

Adobe developed PDF but has made much of its core technology an open standard. It offers its own PDF reader software for free, while charging for the Acrobat software that creates PDF files. Microsoft maintains that its plan to incorporate a PDF-saving option was on solid legal ground, noting that rivals such as Corel and Sun Microsystems already include such options in their office software products.

McNabb said that regardless of the latest moves, PDF is still the dominant player in the market.

"There is more demand for PDF than XPS," McNabb said. "Even if Microsoft makes XPS free and native (to Office) and users have to download PDF, it will only have a marginal impact on XPS adoption. The market wants PDF."

CNET News.com's Dawn Kawamoto contributed to this report.

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Office 2007, computer company, Microsoft Office, Adobe Systems Inc., antitrust

40 comments

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Bad Marketing
Even though it was static, the city I used to live in offered "mini-websites" for about six other languages all in PDF's because it could be programmed by someone who knew Word. (English and Spanish were standard.)

This whole issue all because Adobe is unsure how to get people to continue buying the full version of Acrobat if they can create basic PDFs. So instead, they'll go after Microsoft because screwing with Microsoft is in vogue, or they'll try to use Microsoft to come after us because we are already paying for Microsoft software. (Maybe Microsoft should offer 25 center per copy of Office shipped with the "Save As PDF..." option.) Or maybe it's so that they can later sue if XPS ever gains any traction saying that it's monopolistic because XPS is built into Vista and PDF isn't.

This is a problem of their own making. For most people, a PDF is nothing more than a preservation of formatting. They know nothing of the interactivity (mostly form-based, right? Not sure myself.) that can be accomplished with the PDF format if used in an interactive format with the server code behind it.

Why? Because:

(1) the full version costs so much many haven't purchased it

(2) the full version is such a user-unfriendly engineered piece of dreck with a horrid learning curve and a hauntingly bad user-interface that prevents people from really understanding its full power

If Adobe would get a clue, they would realize that the easier it is to make PDFs, the easier it is to spread the format. They just need to figure out how to market the full version and monetize the free reader. Maybe they could do like Opera and put banner ads in it and offer a $5 or $10 enhanced reader that doesn't have ads.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Finally, somebody said it!
Yes!!!

Why ARE adobe products so expensive and hard to use??? For some specialized niche-market tools, it is somewhat understandable, but why would I pay $200 to create a PDF that COULD do all of this wonderful stuff...if only I had the time to take the tutorial, read the manual, and phone a friend? Don't even get me started on Photoshop or Premier...those products just plain reduced me to tears.

I hope Adobe doesn't touch the interfaces of the interfaces of the Macromedia products.
Posted by opine (6 comments )
Link Flag
Agree
"(1) the full version costs so much many haven't purchased it

(2) the full version is such a user-unfriendly engineered piece of dreck with a horrid learning curve and a hauntingly bad user-interface that prevents people from really understanding its full power
"


You could be talking about any Adobe product. :)
Posted by just_some_guy (231 comments )
Link Flag
MS would be better off as 2 companies
Bummer, native PDF support was one of the only features I was looking forward to in Vista.

Not that they are being forced not to include it Adobe reader is going to continue to run in in system tray on millions of machines nagging the users to download plug-in they don't need or want.

It is sad that a company with a monopoly on PDF software can use antitrust as an excuse to prevent MS from competing against them.

People say MS got off easy by not being split up by the courts, but I disagree.

They are allowed to bundle notepad, solitaire, calculator, and paint. ANY other product they chose to include with Windows leaved them in the cross hairs of the courts.

I think if they were split into 2 smaller, more versatile companies that are legally allowed to actually release products they would be better off.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sounds like Adobe is scared to compete
Its a shame that companies like Adobe need to go running to their lawyers to try to prevent competition. MS is doing nothing wrong by creating a new portable format, or by adding PDF generation to their software (for which a lot of people have been clamoring for years). Adobe, on the other hand, is just trying to maintain its position not by offering superior products, but by litigation. I definately come away from this with less respect for adobe.
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anyone NOT afraid to compete with MS is stupid
History shows it.

Get real.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Link Flag
PDF Adobe - So is it an open standard or not??
The real interesting question then is whether PDF is an open standard offered on royalty-free terms as Adobe claims. If so, why are they asking M$ for royalties to implement while others are implementin for free a supposed open standard? Keep it real Adobe.
Posted by shredderman2 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
exactly
Adobe is the bad guy in this -- for once Microsoft is clean. (I can't believe I just said that.)

Adobe has been touting Acrobat as open standard that ANYONE and their brother can create and use -- oh, but not Microsoft! As a reasult, all these Office suite competitors have it -- with Adobe's blessing because it's an open standard. Now they are carping because Microsoft wants to joing the party?
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Link Flag
Down w/ PDF
I have long been frustrated w/ the behavior of PDFs. It's slow, klugey, limited, and the auto-updating format is endlessly frustrating as it seems to hang the program repeatedly. This is one instance where I'd be glad to see the 300 lb gorilla M$ squash the competition, because frankly, the PDF format is just not a very impressive.
Posted by jmarsh75 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Sure...
Care to provide examples? And BTW, I guess in your world MS software is just the shining example of software design.

How much MS stock do you own?
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Link Flag
Adobe is hurting PDF format
All this only hurts Adobe and the PDF format.

It looks like Adobe is doing everything they can to insure the success of Microsoft's XPS format.
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
the PDF format is secure
The PDF format was adopted as a standard by most
governments, financial institutions, and businesses many years
ago. These squabbles between Adobe and Microsoft over whose
is bigger won't change that.

Adobe published the PDF specification years ago and gave their
permission for anyone's software to make and use PDF files (as
long as they follow the specification). This means the format wil
be in use as long as anyone wants to use it.

Regardless of the results of this case, no one is going to drop
PDF in favor of MS XPS.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Office, Vista
XPS is called by some analysts as a PDF killer not becasuse of any inherent technical advantage that it might possess. Rather its called that because of the vast number of IT workers which will push a Microsoft product on the corporations they work for without regard to that product's quality. So, if you will, it has an enormous advantage because of that. Since the largest number of PDF documents are simple ones - Microsoft is going after that market knowing that dominating it will allow it to strangle out PDF capabilities over time.

Embrace, extend, and extinguish is still in full force.
Posted by smfriedland (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Welcome competition!
Working with PDF documents and the Reader is often frustrating. The technology bloated, buggy and full of annoyances. For instance, with certain PDF documents, the zoom factor is reset everytime I move to another page! Also, when will they ever get the selection and pasting of text to other application right (I still get retarded results more often than not)?!

Due to lack of competition, Adobe is slacking, not providing any significant innovation to PDF technology for years.

I'm glad there will be a competing format!
Posted by dysonl (151 comments )
Reply Link Flag
PDF is for printing
The main reason for the PDF format is its use in the printing
world, machines are made PDF capable and the whole workflow
is pure PDF based. It took years to reach this integration and
innovating it every year isn't per-se a good thing, on the
contrary. Its build into printers, what was MS thinking when they
made a 'PDF killer"?

osX embraced the technology and integrated it, PDF printing and
fast viewing is available systemwide for many years now. Just
make a better PDF viewer and get over it, MS can't dominate
every market.
Posted by Peter Bonte (316 comments )
Link Flag
I HATE PDF!!!
Why?

My puter won't run Adobe Reader.

PDF is clumsy to use.

PDF is not secure. Look at all the recent governmental 'leaks' by PDF being copied and pasted.

Going to a website and being forced to download a PDF file just to get information that could/should have have been put in HTML is simply SENSELESS and an incovenience to Readers of that website.

Could go on, but I think you get my point ;)
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stupid Users
If the PDF is not secure, it's not the PDF's fault, it's the author's fault.

By default, if you convert files to PDF, it is not secure, you can delete pages, copy text, print etc.

But with setting of password security, digital signatures, and digital certificates nicely available in Acrobat, you can restrict printing, restrict editing, copying etc. Advance security would be with the Adobe Policy Server, you can even set expiry dates on the PDF. If that idiot knows that this PDF is to be made public, he had better secure it. If it's not, then it's his fault.

Information in HTML? Try printing that out. You get crappy spacing, fonts and tabs. But with PDF, what you see is what you get as you print it. Plus, if I already have the information in another copy, I can just convert them into PDF and upload to the website instead of coding it in or copy, cut and paste into HTML, whatever. Then I don't need to worry about whether it'll fit a 800x600 or 1024x768 or whatever that's 'best viewed'.

It's not a technology problem, it's user problem. As always.
Posted by Joanna Choong (1 comment )
Link Flag
Is this story even true?
There's not a single statement from Adobe in this entire article.
And strange it comes out just when Microsoft is trying to push
their new PDF competitor. It looks like just a propaganda
campaign on Microsoft's part. Microsoft is only saying they're
expecting to be sued, not that Adobe has done anything except
try to negotiate some money for Microsoft to use a library Adobe
wrote.

I personally think Microsoft's pretty much making the whole
thing up, and c|net doesn't have the resources to fact-check a
story.
Posted by samkass (310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Seriously, you are....
Seriously man, you are retarded.
Posted by anarchyreigns (299 comments )
Link Flag
Metro
So they will again improve their monopoly with Metro format and remove support for PDF :(
---
Pixel image editor - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.kanzelsberger.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.kanzelsberger.com</a>
Posted by firstlast (35 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe is full of liars
"Adobe publishes the PDF standard in its entirety and makes it available for free, without restrictions, to anyone who cares to use it," Adobe Senior Director of Public Policy Michael Engelhardt wrote last year in a letter to a Massachusetts state senator. "No one needs permission from Adobe to build their own product with the PDF standard."



<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361" target="_newWindow">http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361</a>
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe is full of liars
"Adobe publishes the PDF standard in its entirety and makes it available for free, without restrictions, to anyone who cares to use it," Adobe Senior Director of Public Policy Michael Engelhardt wrote last year in a letter to a Massachusetts state senator. "No one needs permission from Adobe to build their own product with the PDF standard."



<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361" target="_newWindow">http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361</a>
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sorry for the multiple posts
kept getting error message from CNET that "page could not be found" whenever I posted, so I thought it wasn't posting. So, I kept trying until it successsfully completed.
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Link Flag
...or Microsoft is
Why do you assume that a one-sided article without any comments or perspective from the other side, whose only source is Microsoft's PR department is completely true and unbiased?
Posted by samkass (310 comments )
Link Flag
Adobe is full of liars
"Adobe publishes the PDF standard in its entirety and makes it available for free, without restrictions, to anyone who cares to use it," Adobe Senior Director of Public Policy Michael Engelhardt wrote last year in a letter to a Massachusetts state senator. "No one needs permission from Adobe to build their own product with the PDF standard."



<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361" target="_newWindow">http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361</a>
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe is full of liars
"Adobe publishes the PDF standard in its entirety and makes it available for free, without restrictions, to anyone who cares to use it," Adobe Senior Director of Public Policy Michael Engelhardt wrote last year in a letter to a Massachusetts state senator. "No one needs permission from Adobe to build their own product with the PDF standard."



<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361" target="_newWindow">http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361</a>
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe is full of liars
"Adobe publishes the PDF standard in its entirety and makes it available for free, without restrictions, to anyone who cares to use it," Adobe Senior Director of Public Policy Michael Engelhardt wrote last year in a letter to a Massachusetts state senator. "No one needs permission from Adobe to build their own product with the PDF standard."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361" target="_newWindow">http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361</a>
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe is full of liars
"Adobe publishes the PDF standard in its entirety and makes it available for free, without restrictions, to anyone who cares to use it," Adobe Senior Director of Public Policy Michael Engelhardt wrote last year in a letter to a Massachusetts state senator. "No one needs permission from Adobe to build their own product with the PDF standard."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361" target="_newWindow">http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=188701361</a>
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Double Standard Not Open Standard
Open standards should truly be open, not opportunistically closed when it is adopted by a competitor.

But it is important to remember that Adobe is an open, yet proprietary, specification. It publishes the specs for its PDF versions (see the 1200+ page PDF 1.6 Developers Manual).

According to Adobe, the PDF specification remains under Adobes control so it can be quickly adapted to meet new needs, such as the bar-code capability recently added.

That's great, go Adobe go. But don't claim openness, receive all of the goodwill of being open, and then be closed while still trying to be open. Open or closed...which is it?
Posted by zeldathez (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe says one thing, but does opposite
Microsoft associate general counsel Horacio Gutierrez: "We've been discussing this for several weeks, and of course have been partners for many years, but talks have now ended. It concerns Office and the "save as" feature. In the end we agreed to remove the features and make them downloadable by customers, but Adobe felt this was not enough.

Gutierrez said: "They want us to charge our customers even though pdf is a royalty-free license - it's free in Star Office, in Open Office and in Apple, so we'd be the only ones charging for it.

"We expect a legal letter from them but their position differs 180 degrees from previous public statements."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/05/microsoft_adobe_legal_spat/print.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/05/microsoft_adobe_legal_spat/print.html</a>


and this is one of the previous statements:


"Adobe publishes the PDF standard in its entirety and makes it available for free, without restrictions, to anyone who cares to use it," Adobe Senior Director of Public Policy Michael Engelhardt wrote last year in a letter to a Massachusetts state senator. "No one needs permission from Adobe to build their own product with the PDF standard."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.j" target="_newWindow">http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.j</a>
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adobe says one thing, but does the opposite
Microsoft associate general counsel Horacio Gutierrez: "We've been discussing this for several weeks, and of course have been partners for many years, but talks have now ended. It concerns Office and the "save as" feature. In the end we agreed to remove the features and make them downloadable by customers, but Adobe felt this was not enough.

Gutierrez said: "They want us to charge our customers even though pdf is a royalty-free license - it's free in Star Office, in Open Office and in Apple, so we'd be the only ones charging for it.

"We expect a legal letter from them but their position differs 180 degrees from previous public statements."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/05/microsoft_adobe_legal_spat/print.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/05/microsoft_adobe_legal_spat/print.html</a>

and THIS is one of the previous statements:

"Adobe publishes the PDF standard in its entirety and makes it available for free, without restrictions, to anyone who cares to use it," Adobe Senior Director of Public Policy Michael Engelhardt wrote last year in a letter to a Massachusetts state senator. "No one needs permission from Adobe to build their own product with the PDF standard."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.j" target="_newWindow">http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.j</a>
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
.pdf in Mac OS X
You can save anything in .pdf format through the print dialogue in
Mac OS X, so what's the big deal?
Posted by mavlast (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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